How to drive an automatic car

How to drive an automatic car

Are you concerned with how to drive an automatic car? Well, the good news is that the procedure is easier to follow compared to manual cars. This is because of the simplified features that these automatic cars come with. For instance, an automatic car comes with an automatic gearbox and so, it does not have a clutch unit. As a result of this, there is no need for switching gears; it happens automatically. This is made possible because the transmission system has been preset with the capacity to sense when it needs to change gear and what gear it needs to change to. With all these said, let us take a look at the easy-to-follow processes that are involved in driving an automatic car.

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Automatic cars are increasingly becoming common compared to manual cars that we were used to. The reasons are very simple: Not only does driving an automatic car come with ease, but anyone can learn how to drive it pretty fast. So, whether you have just bought an automatic car or you are thinking of buying one and you are curious about how to drive it, then, this article is just-in-time for you. Read on to discover how to drive an automatic car step by step.

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Learning how to drive an automatic car

Sometimes, you hear some people say something like, “I want to learn how to drive an automatic car but I don’t know how to go about it.” Well, the thing is when you are about to start learning how to drive an automatic car, there are some basic things you need to understand first. For instance, if you check the gearbox of the automatic car you are learning with, you will discover that there are some letters on it. The letters are P’ (for park), ‘R’ (for reverse), ‘N’ (for neutral) and ‘D’ (for drive). Each of these letters has specific functions that they perform. Although, some automatic cars that have more letters, all automatic cars have these basic letters. They also perform these basic functions that shall be discussed below in detail.


The major function that this performs is to lock the transmission shaft so that the car will not be able to move anywhere. Once the gearbox is set at ‘P’, nothing will be able to rotate except other things that are non-driving wheels like the handbrake. The only time you should set your car in this position is when you have stopped and you are about getting out of it.


Just as the word means, what this performs basically is to make the car go backwards. So, what the reverse gear is to a manual car is what this ‘R’ means to an automatic car. The only time you should shift to this gear should be when you want to drive your car back. Then, to achieve this, you have to, first of all, make sure that the car stops completely. Once it is at a spot, you will choose the 'R' gear once you have pressed the shift-lock button. If you don’t press it, then you won’t be able to shift the gear lever.


When it's on neutral, it means there is no gear or that the car is not using any gear. When you shift to this gear, automatically, there will be a disconnection between the transmission and the driven wheels. The only thing that the car will move with is just the momentum. Any time you want to select this option, make sure that the car is not in motion. More so, it is advisable that when there is a need for pushing your car or when it needs to be towed, then you can make use of it.

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Once you select this option, it is like giving your car the command to move forward. However, note that there are some automatic gearboxes that come with the option of selecting between the first and second gears. There are some others that also come with the variation of a third gear. All of them are labelled in ‘D1’, ‘D2’, and ‘D3’ depending on the number of options that the car has. The essence of these gears is to help adjust the speed of your car depending on the condition of the road which you are driving on.

When you are driving on the road, one beautiful thing about the automatic car is that the automatic transmission is able to sense the road speed. By this, it knows when to increase speed and when to lower the speed. It automatically slows down again once it detects that you are moving uphill and picks up when you are moving downhill. You don't have to worry yourself with what gear to use at what time or where, the automatic transmission does that conveniently for you.

The correct way to drive an automatic car

Automatic cars have a set of rules that must be followed before you can drive them. In this section, you will discover how to drive an automatic car step by step. So, read on.

1. Get to know how to engage your feet while driving

Compared to the manual cars, you don’t have to worry yourself on any clutch pedal because automatic cars don’t have one. The only pedals you will see are the brake pedal and the accelerator. More so, you only need your right foot to control both of these pedals. By implication, whenever you are driving, your left foot will continue to rest at all time.

2. Adjust your car for comfort sake

You need to adjust the car seat to make sure that you are able to comfortably reach out to whatever you need to control. This is also important so that you can see out of the windows without any struggle. After achieving this, set the mirrors also until you are able to see both the sides of the vehicle and behind clearly. The mirrors must be well set because you will need them while driving.

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3. Know the right way to start the car

Whenever you want to start the car, always ensure that the gear lever is in P. Don't forget this for any reason. Once you have confirmed that, the next thing to do is to press the brake pedal while you insert the car key into the ignition and turn it on. After accomplishing this, careful move the gear lever to the 'D' option.

4. Remember to release the parking brake

While your foot is still on the brake pedal, release the parking brake to enable movement. However, before you attempt to move at all, watch out for moving cars around you and blind spots also. Be convinced that you are safe to move before you make an attempt to get the car in motion. Once those are settled, slowly release the pressure that you have initially mounted on the brake pedal. If you do all these well, the next thing you should notice is the slow movement of the car. To move faster, you don’t necessarily have to adjust the gear lever, you just simply put a little pressure on the accelerator or gas pedal.

5. Turn your steering wheel in the right direction

Once you have successfully gotten the car into motion, what you need to do next is to turn the steering wheel in the direction you are going. Gradually turn the steering wheel in the right direction if you are moving right, and turn it left if you are moving in the left direction. While you are doing this, make sure that your focus is on the direction you are going. Don’t get distracted by anything because it could be dangerous now that the car is in motion. Then, you need to maintain confidence. You need it to drive well and safely.

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6. Apply the brake when there is the need

If you need to slow down the car while moving, all you have to do is to slowly press the brake pedal a little. Do this while your foot is off the accelerator. Then, when you need to move again, you just simply press the accelerator and the car will pick up its speed. When you may have to mount much pressure on the brake pedal is when you need to stop the car completely. To do this, you won't have to exert the pressure once; you do it gradually until the car stops eventually.

7. Ensure you park the car properly

When you want to park the car, make sure that the car is completely stopped after you have exerted pressure on the brake pedal. Once the car is stopped, make sure that you shift the gear lever back to the ‘P’ position. After this is done, you may then turn the engine off by turning the key in a counter-clockwise direction. Then, apply the parking brake before you get out of the car. Note that when you are parking, it should be a place that is safe. The car also has to be positioned well. The essence of this is to make sure that you don't obstruct the free movement of other vehicles.

If your concern is how long to learn to drive an automatic car, the thing is it really does not take long before you start driving. The most important things you need to bear in mind are your passion to drive and how well you are able to follow the procedure. Then, another important factor is your ability to learn fast. This is so important because it will influence how fast you will learn how to drive an automatic car.

Based on the information shared here, it is advisable that you take some tutorials on how to drive an automatic car. At least, you need to put what you have learned into practice. When you are ready to take your first practical driving exercise, be sure to have an expert in the car with you. This will help you in case something goes wrong and you are not able to handle it alone.

Why drive an automatic car?

One of the most important reasons why you should drive an automatic car is that it is very easy to drive. Apart from the fact that the learning process does not take much time, driving it is a lot easier compared to when you are driving a manual car.

Also, it is easy to navigate through steep inclines with automatic cars. With this, the car can operate efficiently not minding how steep the hill may be.

If you find yourself in a heavy traffic, then you will appreciate driving an automatic car the more. This is because automatic cars are easy to start, accelerate and decelerate. They are also very easy to stop when there is the need for that. You know, with just the press of a single pedal, you can achieve more while driving in traffic.

In terms of gas consumption, automatic cars have greatly improved on that. The fuel economy is so reasonable. Apart from this, when it comes to the speed, you can always count on automatic cars. This is why many of the speedsters you will find in the market today are all automatic cars.

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In conclusion, when you want to learn how to drive an automatic car, the processes involved cannot be compared to that of manual cars. The comfort that automatic cars bring and the ease that is attached to them is second to none. However, apart from the information that has been shared here, it is advisable that you should go through the owner's manual of whatever car you want to drive. This is necessary because there are some automatic cars that have special ways of operating them. But whatever the case may be, the basic steps that have been discussed here will help you through in your quest to drive any automatic car.

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Disclaimer: Please note that the information contained in this article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional driving tutorial. All the content including text, graphics, images, and information contained on or available through this page is for general information purposes only.


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